When you see the perfect tweet, the first thing you may wonder is how do you forward a Twitter message so that others can use it? There are a few different ways, and it depends on who you want to share with.
Sending It Off to Everyone
The whole purpose of Twitter is to share your thoughts with your network of friends. Rather than having to send your tweets to each person individually, you can simply "post" a message and be sure it will show up to everyone who follows you.
That's the way it was originally created. However, like any platform, the Twitter creators made changes to reflect the needs of their users, such as creating the ability for users to make their tweet streams "private," only accessible to their friends rather than the general public. Some of the changes, however, were created by the users -- the now-famous "hash tag" or "#" symbol to show subjects, for example.
Another user-created convention became the default way to forward Twitter messages: the "retweet." If you want to let everyone else know that you are sharing a tweet written by someone else, the convention is to type the letters "RT" followed by the username of the person who originated the tweet. For example, if you were sharing an article that you saw on the LoveToKnow Twitter stream, it would be formed in the following way:
Rt @lovetoknow Great article about How Do You Forward a Twitter Message [link]
Many programs designed to facilitate the use of Twitter have quick and easy "retweet" buttons configured with icons such as ">>" that will automatically put the "rt" and name followed by the message. If there's room, many people will then put their own commentary in parentheses after the quote. However, very often there is simply not room for that. While a service such as Twitlonger can make tweets longer via a web link, the message loses some of the immediacy.
Trying to Save Letters
Anyone familiar with Twitter knows that every letter (and even space) in a tweet is valuable. The programmers at Twitter saw the way that forwarded tweets had many of the letters taken up by the "rt" letters. In 2010 they tried to help out by integrating the user-created "retweet" function into the Twitter framework. This still identifies a tweet as being sent by you, but gives you all 140 characters to send forward.
The retweet function was met with mixed feelings by the users, but since they can still use the traditional "rt" method, you can see both in the "twitterverse" and on the various programs designed to make using the service easier.
How Do You Forward a Twitter Message to One Person?
Sometimes you don't want everyone to get a twitter message; you may want to quote it directly to only one person. There are three basic ways to send a tweet to an individual:
- You can copy the tweet and then put it into a "direct message" to a particular user. This only works when the person you're sending it to is also following you, but it has the advantage of showing up directly in their Twitter stream. The method for sending a direct message is to preface the tweet with "dm" followed by a space and then the person's Twitter identity -- without the "@" sign usually used. A direct message to LoveToKnow, for example, would begin "dm lovetoknow" followed by the quote, which you cut and paste to send on.
- Some programs such as Twitter for iPhone include the simple method of emailing specific tweets to people. These usually include links to the page online where the individual tweet is shown. In this case, you don't have to copy and paste the message into the email -- it is automatically included.
- The final method is used in situations where you are using Twitter online and can't simply press a button to email. You can choose between sending a link to a tweet (looking at a Twitter stream, that link is found in the part that shows what time a tweet was set) or again copying and pasting the text of the tweet into the email.
Millions of tweets are forwarded using these messages every day, keeping the conversations and connections in this social media phenomenon alive.